Lawyer Career Changer Profile

Gemma Wayman

Charities, NGOs and Not-For-Profit / Policy Advocacy

Legal Career

High Street, Family Solicitor, Cornwall

New Career(s)

Charities, NGOs and not-for-profit

Policy Advocacy

Career Change Story

I became a project manager for an independent advocacy charity.

I was just over three years qualified when I decided that I did not wish to be involved in the ever-changing and worsening family law (legally aided) legal practice.

Having been made redundant from my previous firm approximately one-year post-qualification, I found that I was no more content in a similar firm.

I decided to resign and immediately left to head to America where I spent the summer teaching farming and gardening at a children's summer camp.

On my return in the Autumn, I knew my legal career had ended, having no desire to return to practice.

I had had a fantastic, active, inspiring summer where I learned to enjoy human interaction again and felt a role with more of a social care element to it would suit me better.

I applied to become a senior advocate for a charity offering advocacy services to people (parents in particular) with learning disabilities.

I have now been in this role for two months and have no regrets.

I did however need that four-month break doing something that was youthful and fun to know that law was not for me.

I had a complete distraction and worked at the total opposite end from law to have this realisation and revelation.

Career Change Reflections

Be bold and do not worry what people may think.

Put yourself outside of your comfort zone and have an adventure.

Do something so totally different from the usual run of the mill and you will gain perspective, meet others who come from often completely different backgrounds and gain confidence.

Often, it is thought that lawyers are full of self-belief but I do not think this is always the case.

Try something new and feel the pride in achieving new skills and interests.

From this, you get a sense of satisfaction that I never had in private practice.

The transition between professions should certainly have a challenge and be selfish in doing something you want/never tried before.

Then, on your return, you should know whether a career break has helped you decide whether you do wish to return to law or whether you have another calling.

Do not rush into a new job, law or otherwise.

Get to know the market and put in speculative applications, you never know who may feel your skills fit their business.

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